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S’East govs pick Nwachukwu as confab team leader

The South-East Governors’ Forum has picked Senator Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of the Igbo delegates to the national conference.

This was made known on Thursday night after the governors met with delegates of the zone to the conference.

The chairman of the forum and Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, presided over the meeting, which was held at the Enugu State Government House.

Orji said that the South-East governors and delegates agreed that Nwachukwu, a former minister of External Affairs, would be supported by Catholic priest, Monsignor Obiora Ike.

He said a former Nigeria ambassador to the United States of America, Dr. George Obiozor, “is to manage the secretariat of Ndigbo that will be established in Abuja for the purpose of the conference.”

The governors advised the delegates to cooperate with other Nigerian delegates to the conference and among themselves as well.

They urged the South-East delegates to protect the interest of the zone while taking the unity and prosperity of Nigeria as core priority.

Orji also announced different state leaders to the conference to include, “Dr. Sam Egwu for Ebonyi; Senator Ken Nnamani (Enugu); Ike Nwachukwu (Abia); Dr. Dozie Ikedife (Anambra); and Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu for Imo State.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on Thursday in Abuja said it would canvass devolution of powers and local government autonomy at the national conference.

A nominee of CSOs to the conference, Mr. Steve Aluko, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the organisations  would push for the protection of Nigerians’ rights at the conference.

Aluko expressed optimism that the group’s position would meet the aspirations of every Nigerian.

“First and foremost, we believe in the continuity of the entity called Nigeria.  Nigeria should continue as one indivisible entity because we stand to gain more by remaining one.

“However, it should be a Nigeria where power will not be too centralised at one level of government. Power should be decentralised at the centre.

“We will canvass local government autonomy because we believe that the local government is the closest government to the people.

“Nigerians will be better served with the dividends of democracy if the third tier of government is freed from the grip of the state governors and allowed to function.

“The main thrust on which this conference should also be based should be the security of lives and property of the citizens,” said Aluko, who is also the Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation.

Aluko said the group would engage and lobby all interest groups at the conference to ensure that it achieved its goals.

He assured that the group would work to protect the interests of the “ordinary Nigerians” particularly, all the rights that were provided for by the constitution.

He, however, urged Nigerians to “track” their delegates at the conference to ensure that their positions were well presented.

According to him, the tracking becomes necessary so as to avoid misrepresentation of the people’s positions by their delegates.

“We are hopeful that this conference will not be another “talk shop” but one that will fulfil its promise to the Nigerian people.

“It must have clear objectives and outcomes that are implementable by the relevant authorities and result in a real process of political, social and economic reform where required,” he said.

He said that all the positions of the group were “nationalistic and touch on all the sectors of the country and the lives of all Nigerians.

“Let everybody bring whatever he or she has to the table and let us discuss every issue without religious or ethnic sentiments but with Nigeria in mind.

“There must be a feedback mechanism for the people to know what is discussed and the positions taken because this conference is about them.”

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